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Digital Storytelling 

We think of digital storytelling as weaving a range of information into your text to bring your story to life: displaying data, creating graphics, showing image galleries, and creating interactive elements to allow your readers to explore and experience your story more deeply.

So whether it's adapting your research paper to a general audience, creating a multimodal essay, or telling the story of your latest adventure, here are our favorite free tools to bring your message to life and publically share it. Would you rather talk through your ideas one-on-one with a tutor?  We can direct you to the best tools for your project!

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Digital Storytelling Platforms

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Social Media Storytelling: Storify

Storify helps you to aggregate and organize multimedia content, especially social media posts, to create a cohesive story or timeline. Storify works best for presenting contemporary topics, social media conversations, and information from varied sources.

Storify Intro (pdf)

Storify FAQ (pdf)

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Multimedia Storytelling: Atavist

A powerful digital storytelling tool created initially for journalists, Atavist offers simple composition templates and effective design tools. Craft your multimedia content to create a beautiful, clean, and powerful story. Want some inspiration? Check out some Atavist examples.

Atavist Intro (pdf)

Go to Atavist

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DigiComm's Atavist Tutorials

These videos walk you through the basic customization options in Atavist. "Set up and basics" covers title pages, layout options, section breaks, descriptions and navigation. The second one goes more in-depth into adding content. Created by our Media Fellow Kendall Gilman.

Set up & basics

Adding text & images

Content Creation Tools

Whether you're telling your story through a website, digital storytelling platform, or blog, the key to success lies in amplifying your information through effective visual communication.  Here are our favorite, free tools for graphic design, icons, data visualization, and interactive content.

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Beautiful templates, drag-and-drop features, and great options for customizing colors and fonts - Canva can make anyone feel like a graphic designer. Canva provides great templates for social media posts, infographics, posters, presentations, and more. Create a style guide so the choices for fonts and colors only have to be made once and your project or portfolio has a recognizable brand.

Canva intro (pdf)

Go to Canva

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Icons: The Noun Project

Icons for just about anything you can imagine! Easy to search, download, and give credit to the creator. You'll need to sign up for an account, and if you don't want to credit the creator, you can purchase icons royalty free (typically $2.00 a piece, or subscribe for a monthly rate).

visit The Noun Project

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Data: Graphiq

Graphiq's mission is to "drastically simplify the process of obtaining the world's knowledge" by turning "complicated data into vivid and contextually-rich visualizations and knowledge products." Each can be embedded in a digital story or website to add data, research, and credibility. Embedded graphs are dynamic and customizable.

visit Graphiq

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Data: Piktochart

Beautiful templates and dynamic visualization: import your own data to begin crafting infographics. While only a handful of templates are free, the extensive customization can make it easy to create a unique visualization and story for your data.

visit Piktochart

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Interactive: StoryMap JS

This online platform allows you to layers information (titles, text, images, videos, and links) on top of a geographic map. This is a great tool to tell stories using locations of a series of events.

StoryMap Tutorial Video

visit StoryMap JS

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Interactive: Timeline JS

Create interactive timelines online using a Google spreadsheet. You can incorporate videos, images, and audio files to tell a chronological story. Embed the final product into a website or blog. Note: you can't customize colors and styles without basic HTML knowledge.

Timeline Tutorial Video

Go to Timeline JS

Didn't find what you were looking for?  

Check out our other collections of our favorite, free resources:

The following icons used in our cover images are from the Noun Project

Licensed via Creative Commons (CC by 3.0 US)

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